Gloria Ann Colin has practiced Lakota Indian spiritual traditions for many years ever since she began exploring her own ancestral roots. Colin is a mixture of Native American, Basque and Spanish heritage.
Colin participated in the 1978 “Longest Walk” where several American Indian activists and supporters marched for five months from San Francisco to Washington, D.C., to protest threats to tribal lands and water rights. She was given the name “Long Runner” for her involvement as one of the runners who led the way carrying the ceremonial pipe, according to a news release.
Colin will speak about that historical event and other experiences as a follower of the American Indian tradition Wednesday, Nov. 6, at Colorado Mesa University in Wubben Hall, room 141.
“Long Runner: Walking the Good Red Road” is the first presentation of the new Barry Michrina Memorial Lecture series founded in honor of the late Michrina, a Colorado Mesa University professor who died suddenly last year.
Michrina was a highly-regarded professor, respected by both students and colleagues alike. He taught anthropology at the college for more than 20 years, including classes about American Indians, Religion and Culture and World Cultures. His colleagues honored Michrina during his first decade of teaching by giving him the Distinguished Faculty Award.
“He was a very challenging professor,” CMU history professor Steve Schulte said. “Students usually accepted the challenge and made themselves into better students.”
Michrina’s family, Schulte and other faculty members established the annual lecture series, as well as a scholarship fund to “remember Barry and all the wonderful things he brought to the campus,” Schulte said.
Michrina had an affinity for Native American history and was especially interested in the Southern Ute tribe.
“He was very close to the Southern Ute tribe,” Schulte said. “He lived on the reservation during his sabbatical. He’s published works on the Utes.”
Former student Lynn Albers has known Colin, who lives in Gypsum, for many years. Albers suggested the speaker as a good way to kick off the lecture series after hearing her speak at Colorado Mountain College.
“She did such a beautiful job,” Albers said. “She was so down-to-earth. It was a lovely, open talk.”
Donations can be made to the Barry Michrina Scholarship fund through the Colorado Mesa University Foundation.